Tuesday 29 May 2018

#336 'Purple Iris' 10x10" & Tonal Value Tip

Painting these flowers in a friends garden was a fine way to spend a bank holiday Monday! 
When I began this painting I had no idea whether it would work as I wasn't sure how to tackle it. 

This is how I started, by blocking the two main greens. The tricky part was the tonal values, purple is a naturally dark colour, so you lighten it but it takes away the colour saturation its a fine line to make it all work together.
Here is my tip:
If you are struggling with tonal values in your painting take a photo on your phone of your subject and your painting. Change from colour to black & white this way you can compare the tones to your subject and you painting and see if all the areas are working, and whether it needs to be adjusted, this is early stages:

The colours where ok but the tonal values of the colours too similar.

So I darkened the background and lightened the petals and Iris foliage area.
I also warmed the flower colour to pinky purple which goes better with the green.

Friday 25 May 2018

#335 'The South Downs' 30x50cm

I went back to the same area as last weeks painting. I wanted to do it again and really study the tonal values and colours. I am pleased with how it turned out.

I will be using this painting for an article I am writing to go into The Artist Magazine. The title of the piece is 'Colour & Aerial Perspective', it will be in the January 2019 edition. I have subscribed to the Artist Magazine on and off since way back in the 80's & 90's so I I am very pleased to fulfil a wish of writing and being in the Magazine :-) 

Back to the subject:
I really like this area to paint, The Trundle, South Downs and have done quite a few now so I want to push myself and try a bigger painting. I brought a 120cmx50cm canvas, it arrived and its huge!! I was tempted to go outside and try it, but I am not set up for such a big support on my easel. So I will prepare as much as I can with drawings and plein air studies and have ago in the studio and let you know how it works out!

I was standing right next to a bush covered in white flowers, there were bugs galore - spot the bee flying past in the photo!

Wednesday 23 May 2018

#334 'Pink Peonies' 10x12"

I have wanted to paint peonies for a while, last year they felt too scary to tackle! So I decided to go for it! I painted outside in natural light, there was no sunshine but it didn't matter. I placed a purple piece of paper under the flowers and decided the green grass was too contrasted in colour so made up the background - which was quite liberating! 
This is the painting blocked in, next to the steps of my studio
I worked on loose, lively brush strokes and keeping the colours fresh, clean and bold! How did I do this? Different brushes for each colour, organised palette - premix colours before painting. Background flat area - brush strokes in different directions and lengths, not smoothing or hiding the marks. I used 'Permanent Rose' for the pinks, mainly with Ultramarine and a little Michael Harding 'Kings Blue deep'.

Monday 21 May 2018

#333 'Morning Meadow' 8x10"

We looked out the window and saw gorgeous morning light so dashed down to the end of the garden. My husband hopped over into the field and being a photographer lapped it up. But the camera wasn't enough for me so I grabbed my plein air gear out of the studio and started painting in my pink wellies and PJ's! Yes, a sight but I didn't want to waste any time getting changed.

I tried the option of not pre-staining the board with my usual Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine warm grey colour but using a Burnt Sienna underpainting instead as my base. It's surprising how different it feels and lot lighter in tone, so I will try more of these.

I also was focusing on limited brush strokes. What you put down counts. So its a quick and immediate response to light.
Burnt Sienna Underpainting
Our garden backing onto the field

Sunday 20 May 2018

#332 'Trundle Path' 8x10"

Second painting of the day on the 1:1 plein air day last week. As you can see it was overcast but still pleasing to paint - the greens, shapes and path... It was a quick study getting the essence fo the place.
I'm using more earth colours - Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre as my underpainting base which especially works with the complimentary greens over the top.

Our pochades & paintings
It's quite sketchy my painting so I may tart it a little, I will see if I can live with it first!

Saturday 19 May 2018

#331 'Early Summer, The South Downs' 9x19"

I held a 1:1 plein air painting day with an artist called Rosie Copeland. Typical it was a windy grey day but actually was easier as it was stable light, so we weren't chasing shadows or squinting into the sun.

We covered a lot of ground from boards, gesso, equipment, my painting colours, colour mixing...viewfinder. Rosie really liked my viewfinder as I'd made a small hole so you can isolate colours and compare them to others in your scene. 

We painted next to each other and she did a cracker painting, mine not so good! - See below:
I got the painting home and wiped it back (below pic) straight away so it didn't dry. The colour was left but no form, I repainted it the next day while it was fresh in my mind, helped I'd already done the same scene last August.
There is too much foreground so I shifted it all down and increased the scale up a bit and reinstated the shapes over the top....

Friday 11 May 2018

#330 'Sunrise, Bosham Hoe' 30x40cm

A quick sunrise painting of Bosham on a largish canvas. Getting the essence of the scene, brush marks still visible, did this in a hour. It was a beautiful morning, so still and glass like refections.
Tricky to paint as there was an ethereal quality to it, sort of thing I'd like to have another go at straight away!

Here are the beginnings, just blocking in shapes for the buildings, and then picking out lights and darks and roof line.
Painting the sky at the same time as the water, to get the mirror reflection effect.

Wednesday 9 May 2018

#329 'May Day, Richmond Bridge' 8x19"

The sun was shining and the masses were out! Absolutely heaving for bodies - I painted the people before it got to busy.
It's a bigger scene than I'd usually tackle so I'm pleased it worked out, 

I was about 15 minutes through when people started gathering near me, I realised they were in a queue for a boat ride, the line snaked right next to me, I couldn't even step back to see my painting! Quite unnerving having people watch the process from so close up! See pic below...

To start I put the bridge in roughly making sure I got the shapes of the arches right and then I put the greens next to it, I used a scrubby hog hair brush which lends itself to foliage. 
Water was bold brush strokes using a filbert hog hair and quite loaded with paint, getting similar blues to the sky but darker tone and dirtier colour.
The people I squinted my eyes and looked at the tonal shapes of them first and then added colour and any light on the top.
This pic shows my palette and how busy it got ...

Tuesday 8 May 2018

#328 'Bosham Quay' 9x12"

I haven't painted in while because my lovely Mum in Law died last week, it wasn't expected and very sad.

I am now back to work and this weather has been glorious for plein air allbeit a little hot!
I timed it just right for this contra jour - sparkle on water - tonal painting.

The tide went lower and the reflections on the posts disappeared before I could put them in. Luckily I was there long enough for the tide to come back up and I could paint them!

Also the light moved really quickly off the water and wet mud, it was very light in tone just warmed a little with Naples Yellow.

Because the yacht is silhouetted in the strong morning sun it is quite dark in tone even though it's a white hulled boat! 

The people in the boat moved around a lot but stayed sitting for enough time to capture them. I didn't want them too pronounced so they come out of the shadows.
The jaunty lean to the boat helps with the composition.

A local chap asked to see my painting when it was 3/4 finished, he said he really liked it and ended up buying it almost off the easel - I wanted to finish it first and let it dry a little :-) 
A great start back to painting...